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Wednesday, 13 October 2005

Government aid helps secure future for colliery

Malcolm Wicks, Energy Minister

A SOUTH Wales mine will continue to operate until the end of its natural life thanks to a further coal investment aid (CIA) award of £842,000.

Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks announced the award to Tower Colliery in Aberdare, South Wales, and paid tribute to the determination and commitment shown by its workforce.

The award follows the submission of a revised application under CIA Period 2 and brings the total amount awarded to the colliery since 2004 to £3.06 million.

Mr Wicks said: “I am very pleased to make this award to Tower Colliery. CIA support for the planned investment, to March 31 2006, will help ensure that the mine is worked to the end of its natural life.

“I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the determination and commitment shown by the Tower workforce in maintaining access to their mine’s remaining reserves. They have survived setbacks that would have beaten most other mines.

“I hope they now succeed not only in winning the last of the coal from Tower but also in securing new mining jobs when the pit has to close. My officials will continue to maintain contact with Tower and with Welsh Assembly Government colleagues to give what assistance they can in the coming years.”

He added: “With regard to the future of the CIA scheme, we said we would fund up to £60 million over five years (ie by 2008); we have now allocated more than £59 million and expect to pay it out within three years of the original launch of Coal Investment Aid (mid-2008).”

Tower Colliery is a co-operatively owned anthracite mine that employs 375 staff and produces around 500,000 tonnes per year. It is located in Hirwaun, near Aberdare. In addition to some housecoal sales, Tower sells a significant proportion of its output to Innogy’s Aberthaw power station, which is essential to security of energy supplies in South Wales.

Tower was awarded £2,215,166 of CIA in Period 1 (P1). This covered forecast eligible investment costs to March 31 this year.

This further award brings the total awarded to the mine to £3,057.304. The further award is expected to be drawn down by the end of May next year.


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